|Braeriach to Devil's
Point from Cairngorm ski centre
Creag a' Chalamain Braeriach Sgor an Lochain Uaine Cairn Toul The Devil's Point
|Estimated net time||10-12 hours|
|Difficulty||No difficulties, but a long hike. Snow might cause some trouble down Coire Odhar to Lairig Ghru.|
|Drinking water||Access to running water from stream running through Lairig Ghru.|
|GSM coverage||Hardly any coverage (May 2008)|
|Parking||Room for several cars at trail head.|
|Start height||555 metres|
|Vertical metres||2110 metres for the roundtrip|
|Trip distance||38.4 km|
Less than 1 km south of Aviemore centre, at the first round about, take left (east) towards Cairngorm ski resort.
From where the up-hill and down-hill roads to the ski centre meets, 500 metres below the main ski centre building drive 200 metres down to the second small car park on the left hand side of the road. From here there is a path down towards the bridge crossing the river at the bottom of the valley. After having crossed the river follow the path north for 100 metres until it makes a 180° left and heads south. Continue on this very good path up to Chalamain Pass at 700 metres. Through the pass there is a short section of boulder. When you get out of the pass you can de-tour up to Creag a' Chalamain at 787 metres. After having visited Creag a' Chalamain head back down to the pass the way you ascended and continue south down towards the stream Allt Druidh. Cross the stream (this is the last chance to re-fill the water bottles until you are down in Lairig Ghru unless there is snow in the mountains). After having crossed the stream follow the path up-hill on the other side of the valley and turn right where the path forks, aiming for the north ridge leading up to Braeriach. Continue up-hill, first to point 1184 located on a big plateau, then down towards west to 1135 metres before heading up to the Braeriach summit.
From Braeriach summit you have an excellent view of the horse shoe that is completed by Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Cairn Toul. From Braeriach continue around the horse shoe to Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Cairn Toul. Except for the boulder at Cairn Toul there is good surface for easy walking all the way. After having descended down towards south from Cairn Toul you will notice a path leading down towards Lairig Ghru, but before going down here you should continue up to The Devil's Point to your south-east. From The Devil's Point head back down north-west and follow the path down Coire Odhar that will take you down to the Corrour Bothy and then a bridge you can cross in order to get onto the path that will take you back up Lairig Ghru in a northern direction.
Follow the good path through Lairig Ghru until you get to the small lakes and the boulder area at around 800 metres, and then down to where you forked right when starting the ascent towards Braeriach. From here follow the path through Chalamain Pass and back to the car.
10. May 2008
This was Håvard and my third day in Scotland and the plan was to do a long hike this Saturday. The preparations weren't ideal, with a late night in the bar at Cairngorm Hotel the night before, but after a good breakfast we were both set for a long hike. We set out from a few hundred metres below the Cairngorm ski centre at 10:30. The sky was overcast, but there was no wind and the temperature was moving towards 20°C.
After having crossed the river Allt Mor we headed towards Chalamain Pass. Having passed through the pass I headed up to Creag a' Chalamain while Håvard continued down towards Allt Druidh and up towards Braeriach. On the north ridge of Braeriach I caught up with Håvard, and here we passed a group of eight other hikers. We got to the summit of Braeriach after just over three hours of hiking, and had our first sandwiches.
From Braeriach we continued along the plateau across to Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Cairn Toul, meeting three (2+1) other hikers. From Cairn Toul we continued to point 1213, and were delighted to find that the hill down from 1213 to the saddle leading up to the Devil's Point was covered in relatively hard snow, enabling us to run all the way down. By this time we had ran out of water (Håvard didn't think of refilling his bottles back at Allt Druidh, so we had to share what we had), so we were happy to see that there was ample running water down in the saddle between 1213 and the Devil's Point.
After having refilled both body and bottles we headed up to the Devil's Point. Here we met a couple who were resting and eating before their descent. We had our second portion of sandwiches, after having been hiking for around six hours, and headed down back into the saddle.
From the saddle we wanted to follow the path down into Lairig Ghru, but because of snow this was a bit more tricky than we initially thought. However, we found an acceptable descent route to the right of the path, and after having to use hands for a few metres we were down where the path was free of snow. Down here we met another two hikers, trying to find a suitable place to set up their tent for the night. They had been hiking from Braemar, and were planning to do the mountains we had just done the following day.
We continued down towards Lairig Ghru, passing the Corrour bothy (a dump), then the bridge crossing River Dee, before starting on the long hike along Lairig Ghru. Just after having passed the bridge it started to rain; first light rain and after a few minutes heavy rain. We put on proper rain gear, and walked at good speed. The heavy rain lasted for about one hour. By the time we got to the small lakes at the highest point in Lairig Ghru the rain had more or less stopped, but the boulder was wet and slippery and crossing this section wasn't as straight forward as we had hoped. Some sections of snow made life a little easier.
After having finished Lairig Ghru and started the ascent towards Chalamain Pass heavy fog set in, reducing the visibility to a few tens of metres. At one point we were uncertain about what route to follow but a check on the GPS to find out what path we had followed earlier in the day, and also a consultation with the map, soon got us onto the right path.
By now we were both starting to feel the strain, and agreed to keep together across the slippery boulder through Chalamain Pass. After having got through the pass we agreed that I should run back to the car and drive it down to the Sugar Bowl car park so that Håvard didn't need to climb back up from Allt Mor to where we had parked the car. On my way back up to the car I met one of the hikers we had overtaken going up to Braeriach earlier in the day, and had a quick chat with him. I then picked up the car and drove down to meet Håvard, and after some minor complications on finding out exactly where to meet we met exactly eleven hours after we left the car in the morning.
We drove straight back to Aviemore and headed directly for the local Fish 'n' Chips shop, where Coke, Irn Bru, and fish and chips felt like the correct treatment. Then a shower at the hotel before we headed for the bar and managed to consume the extensive amount of two pints each (well, Håvard settled for a pint and a GT).